The problem is not so much the RAD (or Agile, or Extreme) process itself, but the limitations of the tools used to implement them. There has always been a moment of truth in RAD tools when the team moved from prototyping to "real" development.
If the prototyping is done with a lightweight tool like Visio, the moment you move to a heavyweight tool like J2EE, you lose your agility to respond to user feedback. The ideal solution would be a tool that can create deployable prototypes.
Why do Enterprise Web 2.0 tools have the potential to support RAD where other worthy technologies have failed? There are several reasons:
- Drag-n-drop web app creation: the ability to create a rich interface quickly makes the prototyping part of RAD much easier;
- Assembly-based development: the ability to assemble lightweight applications that invoke more heavyweight web services keeps the development team nimble;
- Web-based delivery: users are much more likely to provide feedback if it is easy for them to access and try out prototypes. Web-based delivery ensures better communication between developers and users, particularly for a distributed team.
- Standards-based deployment: many traditional RAD tools like PowerBuilder and MS Access produce applications which don't meet corporate security and managability standards. Web 2.0 tools fit more naturally with IT requirements.